Archive for March, 2011

A Father’s Journey along the Yellow Brick Road

The Wizard of Oz is a story that is common to most people in the United States and in many places around the world.

The story, about a young girl, Dorothy, and her small dog, Toto, who are thrust into a strange world through the fateful encounter with a Kansas tornado.

After arriving in “the Land of Oz”, Dorothy encounters many strange and unusual characters, somImagee good and some evil.

It is a classic tale of good over evil, but woven throughout the story are lessons that should not be ignored by anyone, the least of which by us fathers.

Clearly, the primary embodiment of evil is the “Wicked Witch of the West”. A female characterization of Satan. The Wicked Witch oppresses and controls everyone in this wondrous land through her evil deeds and the help of her minions, the “Flying Monkeys”.

The purpose of this article, though, is not to focus on the wicked witch, but instead to call attention to several characters, Dorothy met in this magical land. The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wizard of Oz. These characters are in many ways quite simple, but in this simplicity, represent the failings of many fathers today.

When Dorothy and Toto meet the Scarecrow, they soon find that he, like them, is on his way to see the Wizard of Oz. In his case he is going to request the Wizard give him a brain. He believes he doesn’t have a brainscarecrow because, among other things, he has been told he doesn’t have a brain. After all scarecrows are stuffed with straw, not brains. This belief is further supported by the bad decisions he has made along his journey to find the Wizard.

Like most of us, the Scarecrow has encountered the Wicked Witch and her minions and has been told he could never have a brain. He is unworthy of a brain. Sound familiar?

Later in the story, Dorothy encounters the Tin Man along the yellow brick road. When she and the Scarecrow find him, his joints are rusted and he is paralyzed and unable to help himself. It appears the Wicked Witch’s minions have doused him with water knowing he would rust.

Tin-Man-from-the-wizard-of-Oz tin manHow many times along your journey have you been doused with water. Without someone to “oil your joints”, you are soon paralyzed and of no use to anyone. Without the anointing of this oil, the oil of the Holy Spirit, you would slowly rust away, never having accomplished the purpose for which God created you.

In the case of the Tin Man, Dorothy and her friends find the oil and assist in getting him free again. The Tin Man explains his desire is to have a heart and he is on his way to see the Wizard in hopes he will give him one. Without a heart, he is just another hunk of metal without any purpose in life. He soon joins them on their journey

The third character, the Cowardly Lion, is encountered as Dorothy and her new friends pass through the forest. The Lion desperately tries to stand his ground but he is totally inept due to his fear of the potential outcome. He is easily overpowered by Dorothy’s small dog Toto.

The Lion breaks down in tears describing his lack of courage and explainslion that it has kept him from being the true king he is supposed to be.

Over the years I have encountered men who have been sub-optimized in their jobs, their marriages, their ministries, and worst of all in their role as a father. Lack of courage is the feet put to the spirit of fear. Fear has been the single greatest reason why the men of this present age have been unable to become the warriors and kings that God created them to be. The world tells them they will fail if they strike out or resist the enemy, so they don’t for fear of failure.

Eventually, the small group arrives at the Emerald City and are ushered into the presence of the Wizard. An impressive character with windows, and spires, smoke and mirrors. The very voice of the Wizard is enough to make the small group shake in their shoes. He tells them he is too busy to answer their requests and tells them to come back another day. As wizard machthe group cowers trying to figure out what to do next, Toto, pulls back a curtain and exposes a man speaking into a microphone and pulling levers and pushing buttons.

I can’t help but think the Wizard represents the modern day church. What most people of this world see is just the outward manifestation of the work of men. It is not the infinitely more powerful God that we worship. The church is busy pulling levers, pushing buttons, and speaking into microphones in an attempt to fashion God into something that can impress the world.

Ultimately, the things that each of these characters seek they already posses. They just needed to accept them and put them to use. It isn’t that easy in the real world, or is it? If we accept Jesus as our personal savior, and submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, our understanding of all these things will be opened to us and we will finally, like Dorothy and Toto find our way home. If we continue to put our trust in a God fashioned by the works of man, we will be lost in the Land of Oz constantly seeking that which can not help us.

En servicio como padre

Dave

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